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... ate these elements (Doornek 25). Escher demonstrated and understanding of differential special perceptions that were designed by considering the spatial circumstances within which elements of nature come into correlation and underscoring an artistic depiction based on these elements (Doornek 25). Two of Escher's more popular works, Day and Night and Three Spheres II are both artistic creations the underscore this defining focus on form over substance (Doornek 25).
They also demonstrate the process by which Escher extends mathematics and scientific concepts into his artistry, and underscore the emergence as a reflection of his understanding of nature and of other cultures. Perhaps the most notable element of both of these works is the process of applying different spatial perceptions to the specific elements of his artistry, based on the desire to demonstrate a particular visual effect (Doornek 25). But one of the most notable elements of Escher's work, especially in its earlier development, came as a relationship between his evaluations of systematic and patterned tilings created in ethnic and religious communities, that utilized geometric shapes. The study of the repeated geometric shapes in a number of his works based on Islamic influenced mathematical variations as well as the influence of the Alhambra of Grenada and the Le Mesquite of Cordoba underscored the prevalence of this kind of artistic design (Watson-Newlin 43; Schattschneider 17).
Escher began his study of the complex weavings of cultural artistry when he traveled to the Alhambra in Spain and discovered the centuries of Islamic artistry developed through the use of geometrical shapes, often in configurations that were both repetitive and symmetrical. But the standard notion of symmetry was also challenged within these constructs, and it was evident that there were elements that supported a more complex element to the nature of symmetry, perhaps rooted in an understanding of complex mathematics and their implications for art (Watson-Newlin 43). From September of 1936 until the following March, Escher evaluated the Islamic sketches of as well as Moorish designs that he has attained from designs in majolica tiles in order to determine the importance of these elements in creating a specific artistic design (Schattschneider 17). The design for his first attempt at creating a complex, symmetrical and geometrically complex and repetitive design was based on the tile images recovered from the Alhambra (Schattschneider 17).
An explanation of his symmetry of this initial drawing entitled weightlifters provides some insight into the process for Escher: It was not the geometric shape of a single majolica tile that led to Escher's human shape, but rather the relationship of a single tile to ever other copy surrounding it. Each single weightlifter in Escher's drawing can be transformed into one of the five weightlifters which again it by making either a quarter turn (where elbows touch) or an 180 degree turn (where two heads meet) (Schattschneider 18). At the Alhambra, Escher determined that the Islamic artists had used repetitive geometric patterns and shapes in colorful mathematical variations and that the general base for their representations was deeply imbedded in a cultural and religious affinity for nature (Watson-Newlin 43). The Islamic art that became a foundation for the work of Escher presented no humans or animals, and instead focused solely on natural elements and shape representations in the art (Watson-Newlin 43). The Islams believed that the presentation of geometric shapes, flora and even calligraphy provided a reverence for God and a demonstration of the preservation of Gods ideals (Watson-Newlin 43). Though Escher did not necessarily embrace the ideological focus of the representations at Alhambra, he did focus on the artistry and based many of his subsequent drawings on the complex and challenging designs that he experienced.
He learned that the basic elements of their designs were not so difficult to understand if they could be evaluated in terms of the repetition rather than simply on the basis of the primary element. He also copied patterns from the Alhambra and utilized them to create some of his most significant works, including metamorphosis (I) in 1937, a woodcut print that was based on the geometric tilings of the Alhambra (Schattschneider 19). The essential nature and complexity of the developed drawings and artistic creations of Escher were linked not only to his study of the Islam at Alhambra and the Moors, but also through the demonstration of what has been described as the metaphor of Escher. Though the artist contended that his work was not the product of a complex study of the mathematics and scientific principles surrounding the symmetric and recursive nature of the artistry, it became evident that Escher's drawings systematically underscored basic principles of math and created a dichotomous view between Escher the artist and Escher the mathematician.
The progression of examples like Escher Metamorphosis, for example allow for the demonstration of the principles of symmetry, dimension, relativity, and the use of negative space to provide a distinct visual experience that leads the viewer through the progression of the piece of art. Escher was famous for bringing art lovers into his pictures and enhancing their experience by requiring them to evaluate and re-evacuate what they have seen. The imbedded nature of his developments in the knowledge and application of mathematical and scientific principles is an imperative element in understanding Escher's creation. In the years that have passed since Escher's death, a number of artists have not only turned to his work for inspiration, but also have utilized his work as starting point for the development of complex and mathematically based artistic developments (Nickell 2).
Escher focused on many different and complex systems of design for his artwork, which ranged from drawings and block prints to origami (Nickell 2), and the differentiation in his artistic pursuits were almost as complex as the designs he created. Bibliography: Works Cited Donato, Beverly Brand. The Escher Experience. School Arts, (1994): March, pp. 31 - 32.
Doornek, Richard. M. C. Escher: beyond the craft.
School Arts, (1994): March, pp. 25 - 28. Duran, Jane. Escher and Parmigianino: a study in paradox. The British Journal of Aesthetics, (1993): July, pp. 239 - 245. Nickell, Joe. Gardnerfest: Admirers Gather for Gardner to fete the modest genius.
Skeptical Inquirer, (1996): May-June, pp. 2 - 3. Schattschneider, Doris. Escher's Metaphors. Scientific American, (1994): November, pp. 66 - 71. Schattschneider, Doris.
Visions of Symmetry: Notebooks, Periodic Drawings and Related Works of M. C. Escher. (New York, NY: W. H. Freeman and Company, 1990). Watson-Newlin, Karen.
Stairways to Integrated Learning. School Arts, (1995): October, pp. 43 - 44. Walczak, Jan. Escher tesselation's. School Arts, (1994): March, pp. 29 - 30.
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